Mobile phone makers and importers will now have to compulsorily register the IMEI number of smartphones before the first sale or the import of the device on a new portal in operation from 2020. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) announced this via a gazette notification dated September 26.
Now, the registration of International Mobile Equipment Identity number (IMEI) of all mobile phones will be mandatory before their sale in India on government’s anti-counterfeit and lost handset blocking portal from January 1, 2023.
“The manufacturer shall register the international mobile equipment identity number of every mobile phone manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal of the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications prior to the first sale of the mobile phone,” the Centre said.
Moreover, the IMEI of the mobile phone imported in India for sale, testing, research or any other purpose shall also be registered by the importer with the portal prior to import of mobile phone into the country.
The notification has been issued under the Prevention of Tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number (Amendment) Rules, 2022.
Every mobile phone comes with a unique 15-digit IMEI number which serves as the unique ID of the device. There have been concerns over inability to track lost mobile phones due to the presence of counterfeit devices with the same IMEI on telecom network.
The government has launched the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) project to block and trace lost or stolen mobile phones and added Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system to curb proliferation of such handsets.
At present only blocking facilities of stolen or lost mobiles are available on the portal.
The ICDR system has been operational since January 28, 2020. It can be accessed through a web portal for registration and generation of IMEI certificates without paying any charges. It replaced the old IMEI cloning and duplication restriction system, which was operated and maintained by the Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI) a private body.
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